Steve's Blog: Advancing technology threatens to overwhelm reporter

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – I think I was born in the wrong generation.  I somehow feel misplaced among this technology age,  yearning instead for life in a log cabin.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I despise technology itself, I just don't have a great desire for most of it.

Now certainly there have been advancements in my lifetime that I'm thankful for. The microwave and TV remote come quickly to mind. But I have no appreciation or desire for a smart phone or GPS for example.

Technology may be great, but I also believe it is responsible for a certain level of "dumbing down."

Consider the electronic cash registers at your typical fast food joint.   I'd bet anything that if that machine breaks down, your average clerk would be unable to count out a customer's change. We learned about change counting in elementary school.  I doubt kids today are even taught the skill. They don't need it since there are electronic devices to do it for them.

It's the same thing that happened with my generation back when electronic calculators first became popular. Sure, they're great for doing multiplication and division. But if you become too reliant on the calculator, you soon tend to forget how to multiply and divide the old fashioned way.

I guess I'm just getting too old or ornery. (or both)

You'll find this hard to believe:  I don't own a personal cell phone.  Yes, I have a work cell phone that I truly could not do without.   But I don't have a phone of my own to use during non-work hours.

You may find that amazing. How could he possibly live without a cell phone?   Truth is, I don't miss it at all.   Aside from the occasional emergency call (roadside breakdown) I don't have any desire to be on the phone when I'm driving.

The GPS is certainly a great advancement for some folks.  I believe it will probably succeed in robbing the next generation of map reading skills. Why learn to read a map when the good ole' GPS will find any directions on earth?

For all my nay saying about high tech advancements and devices, there's one thing I can't imagine myself without. That would be the Internet.   I use it at work on a daily basis for research and reference and story ideas.

Don't get me started on computer and electronic advancements in the automobile industry.  Sure, it's great that today's vehicles are engineered to last such a long time and get decent gas mileage.  But try working on your own car these days when something goes wrong. You need a computer background rather than mechanical skills.

I guess I long for the days when you could find and name every part under the hood of that '66 Mustang.  I learned from my dad about changing spark plugs, oil, shocks, and setting the points.  I don't even change my own oil on my '06 X-Terra these days.  And I certainly can't name all the parts under the hood.

Sure, technology is wonderful in many ways.  I could never complain about the many advancements in medicine, for instance. I guess I just feel overwhelmed at times by the high tech toys and gadgets that are thrust on all of us.

I know a lot of guys who have to have the very latest high tech phones, computers and all sorts of other electronic devices. But that's not for me. I think I would feel more comfortable living in a log cabin, hunting and fishing by day and reading by the fireplace at night.

This whole issue was brought to mind during a discussion with a friend at church the other evening.  We were talking about the days of "black and white" TV.   Yes, I vividly remember when we finally got our first color TV set.  Talk about a technological advancement!

The TV remote was still a few years away.  We actually had to get up from the couch, walk to the TV and turn the channel by hand. Can you imagine!

Of course, that was the time of rabbit ears and not much selection on TV.  We got the three commercial networks and PBS when I was growing up.

Enough of this "back in the day" talk. Next thing you know, I'll be telling you how I walked to school in the snow, barefoot, and it was uphill both ways. (I did walk to school in the snow.  I did have shoes. It was a fairly level walk.)

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